COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer found himself on the defensive last weekend, when he tried to explain his comments about children who get free lunch at school -- and their parents. In case you missed it, Bauer quoted his grandmother as telling him as a child to "Quit feeding stray animals... because they breed."
Bauer says he meant to talk about breaking what he called a "culture of dependency" in society. The candidate for Governor says he now regrets his choice of words, but stands by part of his message. Trying to clarify his foot-in-the-mouth remarks, Bauer said on WIS Saturday, "just like when you feed an animal, you create a dependency".
What business does a public official have comparing even in a general way the feeding of animals to feeding children, this state's most precious resource? Here are the facts, Mr. Bauer. 58% of South Carolina's public school children receive free or reduced price lunches based on the income of their parents, many of whom actually work for a living.
The Lieutenant Governor should apologize to everyone he offended with his brutally insensitive comments. And we urge him to do some research before suggesting again that parents be required to attend school conferences as a condition of their children getting free lunches.
While I agree that children need the support of parents to do well in school, for some who work multiple jobs just to get by, that mandate is unrealistic. Mr. Bauer, have a heart and get your facts straight. That's my perspective. What's your opinion?